News / Asia

Korea Wins Olympic Gold in Short Track Speed Skating

South Korea's Shim Suk Hee (R) skates ahead of China's Li Jianrou in the final sprint as South Korea goes on to win the women's 3,000 metres short track speed skating relay final event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014.
South Korea's Shim Suk Hee (R) skates ahead of China's Li Jianrou in the final sprint as South Korea goes on to win the women's 3,000 metres short track speed skating relay final event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014.
Parke Brewer
Short track speed skating at the Winter Olympics, especially the relay races, often provide controversial results. That was the case Tuesday in the women's 3,000-meter relay. 
 
There is no doubt one of the reasons short track speed skating was added to the Olympic program in 1992 is because of the thrill and drama it often provides.
 
Unlike long track speed skating where the athletes race in pairs, essentially against the clock, the short track skaters compete in packs of usually between four and six, on a much smaller oval. With tight turns and always the chance for falls and crashes, the skaters wear hard helmets.
 
And there are a number of ways a contestant or team can be disqualified, including impeding, skating outside the designated area and false starts.
 
In the women's 3,000-meter relay, the South Koreans jumped the opening gun for a false start. Another false start and they would have been disqualified. Instead, their final skater, Shim Suk Hee, passed the Chinese with half-a-lap to go and crossed the finish line first for the gold medal. 
 
At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics the Koreans were disqualified for illegal contact after thinking they had won the gold.  Though she was not on that team, Shim said through a translator, she certainly remembered the heartbreak of her countrywomen.
 
"When I went past the [finish] line, even though I was watching it on TV four years ago, I still thought of that moment," she said.  "It came up to my head. I was really happy and I could feel what my other teammates who took part in it felt and I was more happy for them."
 
Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.
x
Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.
Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.
China was the beneficiary of the Koreans' disqualification four years ago, moving up to the gold. This time it was the Chinese who were disqualified for an improper move after finishing second. That meant the Canadians were elevated from third place to the silver medal, and the Italians, who had a skater fall early in the race, were advanced from fourth place to the bronze medal.
 
Canadian Marianne St-Gelais said she and her teammates were as surprised as anyone that they ended up with the silver medal.
 
"We were proud of what we did," said St-Gelais. "So when we saw we came in third we were happy, but we didn't know something happened because we hadn't seen anything in the race. So when we saw the final result we were proud. Like we wanted the gold medal for sure because it's never happened, but we're really, really satisfied with the silver."
 
After the Italians suffered their crash, the public address announcer brought laughter from the crowd when he announced that they were now "about 15 years behind" the other three teams. Italian Arianna Fontana said they did not let the crash bother them.
 
"We didn't give up. We kept going. We tried to go fast anyway, and in the end when we saw that the Chinese got [disqualified], we were really excited, really happy and we couldn't believe it," said Fontana.
 
For the South Koreans, considered one of the strongest short track speed skating teams at these Winter Games, the women's relay win was their first gold medal in five of the eight scheduled events.

Click here to see VOA's Winter Olympics site

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs